I remember the geneticist giving us three pieces of advice.
- Try to keep your marriage safe.
- Don’t google anything about this tonight.
- Have another baby as soon as you can.
For now, let’s just focus on advice #3. Sounds simple enough. We always wanted to have more than one child. A family of four sounds perfect for traveling soccer games, acquiring seats on an airplane, and maintaining a family friendly driving mobile – but still manageable to parallel park in the city. Great. Another child. Check.
But for now, we have a sixteen month old and she has a rare genetic disorder. We don’t know how to get her to sleep through the night. She chokes on her food. She isn’t crawling and we have to get to work in the morning. But, another child. Got it.
The diagnosis means forty hours a week of early intervention services, school twelve months a year, and unlimited doctor’s appointments after school. It means we have to call the insurance company to fight for what is covered. It means we need to read articles about children on birth control to protect them from sexual predators. It means her college fund is turning into a special needs trust and we need to prepare funds for potential adult care facilities and caretakers in our absence. It means we need to rewrite our will to make sure someone can take care of her specialized needs and know that they will be up for the job. It means we need to look at her entire life as she sits in her pack in play and takes a nap. But, another child. Sure.
When the dust had settled and dinners welcomed vegetables on the table rather than the Chinese comfort food we had been consuming, we approached this new topic. Another baby. Okay. Another baby would mean she could have an advocate. Another baby means she could watch their development and imitate their behavior. Another baby means someone could help take care of her as she got older and protect her when Mommy and Daddy weren’t around. A lot of pressure on an imagined fetus, but we believed it was up for the challenge.
I was distracted in Biology by a boy on the hockey team, but I remember learning about chromosomes and their occurrences, and the conclusion for us was – it was a gamble. Do we try to have another child? Is that fair to the child? To her? To us? It is selfish to wish for a typical child that can take on the world before it is potty trained?
Maybe I wanted to disprove the therapist who, after reading Jordan’s chart, pointed to my belly and said “No more babies for you.”
Maybe it was the way Jordan would kiss her baby dolls on the forehead before body slamming them on the ground.
Maybe it was just time – but we made up our mind. Another baby. Check.
And what a surprise- We got two!